A U.K.-based Indian-origin professor who co-authored the study quoted by Vijay Mallya's defence has rejected their understanding of the paper, saying the liquor baron’s lawyers have “misconstrued the findings” and grossly misunderstood the analysis of their study.
Shubhankar Dam, professor of public law and governance at the University of Portsmouth, has jumped to the defence of the Supreme Court of India and shot an urgent email to the Crown Prosecution Service, arguing on behalf of India to get 61-year-old Mallya extradited back to face charges of fraud and money laundering.
CPS barrister Mark Summers opened the extradition trial at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London today by reading out the email by Dam which described the Indian legal system as "fair and transparent".
The CPS told Judge Emma Arbuthnot that the email was sent last night following reports on the witness statement given by Martin Lau, deposed by Mallya's defence team as an expert on South Asian law.
Lau, quoting an academic study, raised questions on the neutrality of Supreme Court judges close to retirement. "We reject the defence's understanding of the paper," said Dam, one of the co-authors of the study quoted by Lau, in his email.
Dam said he had felt compelled to write to the CPS because the defence had “misconstrued the findings” and grossly misunderstood the analysis of their study, which was based on specific set of cases and trends which had “no relevance” to any trial involving Mallya that would come up in Indian courts.
The professor stressed that he and his colleagues had focussed their research on the larger issue of incentives in judicial systems around the world, using case studies from some Supreme Court cases.
His email has now been added into the larger set of written submissions on the ongoing trial, which aims to establish a prima facie case of fraud against Mallya and his erstwhile Kingfisher Airlines deliberately defaulting on bank loans worth nearly Rs 9,000 crores